[Marxism] Vietnam-Iraq comparisons

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 15 11:56:05 MST 2004


We should not make facile comparisons between the two wars based on 
"only" 38 Marines being killed in Fallujah. Keep in mind that the USA 
has admitted that there are 275 wounded, which the Independent claims is 
  less than the real total.

With the advent of body armor, there are far fewer deaths but *far more* 
instances of totally incapacitating wounds, including amputation, 
blindness, brain damage, etc.

The San Francisco Chronicle
JULY 14, 2004, WEDNESDAY, FINAL EDITION
The invisible wound;
Though high-tech body armor saves lives on the battlefield, more and 
more troops are suffering traumatic head injuries

Matthew B. Stannard

Sgt. 1st Class Alec Giess clenched his eyes shut as he struggled to 
recall how his fellow Oregon National Guardsmen found him after a truck, 
swerving to avoid a suspected land mine, ejected him onto an Iraqi 
roadway -- then rolled on top of him.

"If my boots weren't sticking out from under the truck, they probably 
wouldn't have found me. It was like the Wicked Witch of the East in ..." 
He paused, his face a mask of concentration. "What is that? Oh, yeah, 
'The Wizard of Oz.' "

That effort to recall a film known and beloved by nearly every American 
is one Giess must bring to all his activities now, from remembering to 
eat lunch to arriving on time at his daughter's middle school graduation.

Giess has more or less healed from many of the injuries he suffered when 
the transport truck landed on his body and gave him cracked vertebrae, a 
broken collarbone and shoulder and bruises where his life-saving body 
armor pressed into his skin.

But he still suffers from traumatic brain injury, or TBI, a wound that 
has proved unusually common in the Iraq conflict, in which new body 
armor saves soldiers from injuries that would have killed them in the 
past but can't keep their brains from banging against the walls of their 
skulls.

full: 
<http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/07/14/MNGGE7L6971.DTL>

All over the USA there are thousands of men and women who are living 
with terrible wounds such as these. In a way, this is more aggravating 
than a death since there is a constant reminder that a young man or 
woman has lost their sight or a limb to a war for oil. With 8,000 
wounded veterans, we are talking about a massive number.

Finally, keep in mind that there were far more troops in Vietnam than in 
Iraq. With 138,000 in Iraq and 543,482 in Vietnam at its peak, you would 
have had 152 dead and 1200 wounded in Fallujah on a proportional basis.

-- 

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